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BI 4 How To: Desktop Intelligence and the BI4x Platform

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Desktop Intelligence and the BI4x Platform

With the release of SAP BusinessObjects BI4.0, Desktop Intelligence was stopped being shipped as part of the BI platform (see End of Life Announcement). When you use Desktop Intelligence extensively within a previous version, this resulted in long Upgrade projects to convert all Desktop Intelligence documents into Web Intelligence.

This may have or will be a difficult point to justify the time (and money) involved for upgrading to the new BI platform of SAP and by this leverage the new features of BI4.x.

With the delivery of SAP BusinessObjects BI4.1, this challenge will be resolved by leveraging the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack.

Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack is also supported for SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.2.

Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack

In this chapter the overview of Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack is being provided, including guidance when it is recommended to leverage Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack

What is it?

The “Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack” (DCP) is delivered in Fix Pack (FP) 6.1 which is to be installed over Desktop Intelligence XI 3.1 SP6 desktop product. When installed, it will allow the Desktop Intelligence reports, users, universes and database connections to be managed by the BI 4.1 platform.

The goal is to allow Desktop Intelligence users and content to move to BI 4 as easily as possible.  The Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack helps in scenarios with reports are difficult or costly to convert to Web Intelligence.

You can download the latest video of the solution presentation and demo of the solution here and the latest presentation here

What is it not?

The Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack (DCP) does not add Desktop Intelligence capabilities to the BI4.1 platform. BI4.1 and any upcoming release of the BI4x platform do NOT and will NOT include any binaries to support the execution of Desktop Intelligence Documents by the platform or BI Web Applications. Users that had been consuming Desktop Intelligence documents via InfoView will not have the ability to consume DeskI documents via BI Launchpad (the successor of InfoView)

DCP will not replace the need to convert DeskI into WebI, but will enable you to shorten the upgrade into BI4.x and park the conversion for a later timeframe.

When to use Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack

It is strongly recommended to leverage the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack (DCP) when you have a large number of Dekstop Intelligence documents. the number of Desktop Intelligence documents should be of such an amount that the conversion into Web Intelligence becomes a blocking issue in the upgrade path into the BI4.x platform.

Desktop Intelligence features that are not (yet) in Web Intelligence and heavily used within your documents could be another reason to leverage the DCP solution. Feature not (yet) in Web Intelligence are documented in the Wiki @ SCN

While having DCP in place, you can upgrade your XIR2/XI3.x platform to BI4.1 to leverage all new features and functionality, however enable your Desktop Intelligence end users and report developer to convert their WebI reports at their own pace after the upgrade/migration. For plannig your report conversion, please have a look at the article BI 4 How To: Planning the Desktop Intelligence conversion to Web Intelligence

The end users will have to leverage the Desktop Intelligence Client tool (version XI3.1 SP6 FixPack6.1 including DCP) to retrieve their documents. End Users that had been viewing/running Desktop Intelligence Desktops via InfoView are no longer able to use the portal interface and must start using the Desktop Intelligence Client.

When NOT to use Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack

If you have only a few Desktop Intelligence documents within your deployment, it is stronlgry recommended to convert your Desktop Intelligence documents into Web Intelligence. The Web Intelligence engines within BI4.1 have an 95+% feature comparison to Desktop Intelligence.

Even if there is a large user based with just a handfull of documents, it is NOT recommended to use DCP but to convert your Desktop intelligence Documents into Web Intelligence. The Web Intelligence Rich Client is a good alternative for the users whom would like to run the clients locally and or combine data with local excel files.

What are the benefits of using Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack

Benefits can be splitted into 3 categories:

1. BI platform Maintenance

2. Upgrade to BI4.1/BI4.2

3. User Experience

Platform Maintenance

The following benefits are relevant in regards to the platform maintenance in combination with DCP and reducing the TCO of your BI deployment:

  • With DCP you can upgrade to the BI4.1/BI4.2 platform and use your Desktop Intelligence documents without the need of keeping an XIR2/XI3.x deployment running.
  • With DCP, you can manage your users and documents within the CMC of SAP BusinessObjects BI4.1/BI4.2
  • Reduce install time by a clean BI4.1/BI4.2 Installation with integrated Mobile and SAP Features

Upgrade to BI4.1/BI4.2

The following benefits are relevant in regards to upgrading to BI4.1/BI4.2 in combination with DCP and start leveraging the new features and solutions available with BI4.1/BI4.2

  • Enable Mobile Dashboards with Dashboard Designer 4.0 SP5+ and Mobile BI
  • Leverage BICS connection for BW queries and increase performance on the refresh of reports running against BW
  • Enable Multi Source Universes
  • Leverage Design Studio against SAP BW and SAP HANA
  • for more details please refer to the What's new documents available on http://help.sap.com (direct link to BI4.0 or BI4.1 or BI4.2) or via the What's New Slides available via : SAP BusinessObjects What's New Collection

User Experience

The following benefits are relevant in regards to user experience in combination with DCP

  • Desktop Intelligence Users do not have to connect to various systems to gain the full insight of the organisation and/or leverage additional features within BI4.1/BI4.2 clients.
  • No direct need to change clients
  • Enable time to get used to the BI4.1/BI4.2 Platform and Web Intelligence engines before converting reports
  • The best of both worlds
  • open up Mobile capabilities using Web Intelligence and other clients using the BI4.1/BI4.2 platform

Requirements for DCP

To enable the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack the following requirements must be met:

  1. The Client machines are running Windows 7 SP1
    DCP leverages some windows features that are only available in Windows 7 SP1. If you are currently running the Desktop Intelligence Clients on Windows 7, XP or earlier, DCP will not be able to leverage the Schedule Function.

  2. Your Desktop Intelligence Client needs to be running XI3.1 SP6 FixPack 6.1
    If you are currently running XIR2 or XI3.0, it is recommended to uninstall the Clients and reinstall the XI3.1 SP6 Clients (Full install package available) and the FixPack 6.1

  3. Your BI4x server needs to be running BI4.1 GA or higher (including BI4.2)
    If you are currently running a SAP BusinessObjects BI4.0 release you need to update your deployment to BI4.1/BI4.2. An update path (Patch) is available for BI4.0 to BI4.1. more details can be found in the update guide available on help.sap.com. For details if you can upgrade to BI4.1/BI4.2 from your current BI4.0 version, please validate with the forward fit rules available on Service Market Place. A detailed workflow fo updating your system can be found via SAP Business Intelligence Platform Pattern Books - Business Intelligence (BusinessObjects) - SCN Wiki

  4. You have used the Upgrade Management Tool to migrate you Desktop Intelligence Reports into the BI4.1/BI4.2 CMS OR manually exported Desktop Intelligence documents to the BI4.1/BI4.2 CMS using a DCP enabled Desktop Intelligence Client

How does it work?

DCP enables SAP BusinessObjects XI3.1 SP6 Desktop Intelligence Clients that have FixPack 6.1 installed to connect to a BI4.1/BI4.2 CMS. Via this connection users are capable of importing/exporting their existing Desktop Intelligence documents using their XI3.1 SP6 FP6.1 client into the BI4.1/BI4.2 Platform.

With the Upgrade Management Tool of SAP BusinessObjects BI4.1/BI4.2 the capability to upgrade Desktop Intelligence reports has been added. This feature enables you to mass upgrade all DeskI documents into the BI4.1/BI4.2 Platform and maintain the security settings for users and usergroups.

Installation of DCP

For the installation of DCP please read the DCP User Guide available on help.sap.com.

The direct link to the DCP User Guide in English is: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir31SP6/en/dcp_user_guide.pdf

Note: The DCP User Guide is only available in English!

Limitations of DCP

With the removal of Desktop Intelligence from the BI4.x product line, several limitations are of importance.

  1. Desktop Intelligence Clients not patched up to XI3.1 SP6 and FixPack 6.1 cannot work with DCP
  2. DCP allows you to connect to BI4.1 only, NOT BI4.0. If you run BI4.0 and would like to leverage the DCP, you need to upgrade your deployment to BI4.1
  3. Desktop Intelligence reports will not be visible for users when connecting to the BILaunchpad of BI4.1. Desktop Intelligence reports will only be listed in the CMC for administrative purposes.
  4. Scheduling of Desktop Intelligence reports cannot take place om the BI4.1 server. The schedules will be moved to the client and leverage windows scheduler features for scheduling. (You may consider to implement a Desktop Intelligence Client VM for scheduling purposes that runs within the network)
  5. DCP can only be deployed while running Windows 7 SP1 as the scheduling feature of DCP leverages the

DCP and Scheduling

With the removal of the Desktop Intelligence Engines from the BI Platform (server), there will be no more scheduling capabilities for Desktop Intelligence reports by BI4.1. To offer scheduling capabilities while the Desktop Intelligence documents are centrally stored in an BI4.1 system, DCP supports basic scheduling using the Windows Task Scheduler.

Users have the ability to schedule Desktop Intelligence documents from the Desktop Intelligence client using the Windows Task Scheduler. A Schedule can be generated via the "Normal"  Process of the Desktop Intelligence client while retrieving or sending a document from/to the Repository. The main difference is that the execution of the schedule is not handled by the BI4.1 Platform (server), but by the local client. This will result in the need of an active running system while planning schedules. Instances of Schedules are still being stored into the Enterprise platform using the default location or Inboxes of users.

Once a schedule is created by the end user, he/she can find the schedule and it's recurrences back in the Windows Task Schedule UI. Using the UI of the Windows Task Manager, the user can mange it's schedules by changing recurrence or removing the schedule.

key comments in regards to scheduling

  • Scheduling is executed using the standard native Windows Task Scheduler.
  • Scheduled jobs created in 2-tier or in 3-tier mode, is executed in 2-tier or 3-tier mode respectively.
  • Recurring schedules are created on a dedicated Windows machine using remote logins.
  • Ensure that the .rep document is not kept open in Desktop Intelligence on the local machine where the document is scheduled to run.
  • Ensure the Windows machine hosting the scheduled Desktop Intelligence document(s) is running during the period the schedule is planned to be executed. (if not, the schedule will initiate as soon as the Windows client is started)

For a full list of the scheduling capabilities of DCP, please read chapter 2.12 of the DCP User Guide available on help.sap.com. A direct link to the User Guide can be found under the Reference Chapter at the end of this document.

FAQ on DCP

For the FAQ of DCP, please take a look at Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack (DCP): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

DCP & BI4.2: DCP is supported for the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.2 release. However the support will be terminated at 31-12-2017 due to end of support for the XI3.1 release at this date. Any issues with DCP after this date will not be validated

Reference Pages:

DCP User Guide: Desktop Intelligence Compatability Pack User Guide

Desktop Intelligence OEL statement: https://service.sap.com/~sapidb/011000358700000503952010E/bobj_deski_eol.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions: DeskI is not back... but here is something that will help you to move to BI 4

Planning the Desktop Intelligence Conversion to Web Intelligence:BI 4 How To: Planning the Desktop Intelligence conversion to Web Intelligence

Desktop Intelligence -> Web Intelligence Feature mapping: SAP Community Network Wiki - Business Intelligence (BusinessObjects) - Conversion from Desktop In...

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